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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the National Conference of Colored Men of the United States, Held in the State Capitol at Nashville Tennessee, May 6, 7, 8 and 9, 1879.
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liberties, and fix the color of the skin as the sign of separation and the line of demarcation. A purely civilized and Christian judgement denounces and deplores such a preposterous alienation from the laws of truth and justice. In the clear and comprehensive view of honest manhood, it matters not whether we be white, black, yellow or red, we are men; gifted with common manhood and entitled to common rights. May the silent but effective workings of Him who knows no color, race or nationality, speed the day when this unchristian and inhuman question of color shall cease to have and occupy a place in the memory of humanity; when all men shall be brought to recognize the common fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of men.
Let us, fellow-citizens, do whatever lies in our ability to bring about this happy condition of affairs. Let us by our actions show that we are worthy the brotherhood of all men, and entitled to a recognition as such, religiously, socially and politically. Our interests in this country are identical, and if success is desirable they are inseparable. In our Southern section this fact is undeniably true, one class possessing the capital, the other labor; and if it were possible for them to move on harmoniously in solid phalanx , each assisting the other—burying deep into oblivion the prejudices and animosities of the past, fostering a mutual and reciprocal brotherly feeling—how much happier, how much more prosperous would we be. Prosperity and happiness would brood over the land ; domestic comfort and peace would take the place of the strife, confusion and turmoil that now retard progress, and ours, indeed, would be a happy land.
Should these hopes of philanthropy fail to ripen into fruition, we must not become derelict ; our mission must be fulfilled; our part on the great stage of human life must be played. Let us never, though the sky be dark above and gloomy forebodings infest our pathway, be discouraged and fall by the way-side. We can never achieve prestige and recognition from irresolution and inaction. We must be up and doing. Our march must be onward and our motto higher.
That the progress of our race in this country during the brief period of our recognition as citizens has been remarkable, no one actuated by righteous inclinations will assume the province of denying. A decade or two is a brief period in the history of a race ; it is sufficient, however, to form a correct inference and estimate of what the developments of the future will attest, provided a wholesome and judicious use be made of the advantages vouchsafed. The pitiable surroundings that marked our early history is too well known to necessitate a reiteration; it occupies too conspicuous a page in the history of this country not to be known. Ah. yes, it is known, and it will be remembered as long as that heaven-employed agency, "justice," occupies a place in the hearts of the good and brave.
Turned out, as we were, upon the charities and mercies of a busy world, having been deprived of those advantages which would have enabled us to assume the duties and responsibilities of American citizenship co-equal with the various races of our mixed population, it could not have been reasonably expected that an illustrious beginning and an instantaneous solution of the complicated machinery of American citizenship would mark our early history; but actuated and inspired by patriotic love and devotion for our country, having unutterable gratitude for those who fought the battles of freedom for us, before we could fight for ourselves, we embarked on the great ship of State, hoping and praying that the magnanimity and justice of a beneficent heaven would smile upon us, fit us and cause us to bear the name and perform the duties of citizens with becoming dignity. Numberless are the obstacles that have served
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